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Recalling the Celtic Tiger


Edited By Eamon Maher, Eugene O'Brien and Brian Lucey

This book looks at various effects, symptoms and consequences of the period in Irish culture known as the Celtic Tiger. It will trace the critical pathway from boom to bust – and up to the current beginnings of a similar, smaller boom – through events, personalities and products. The short entries offer a sense of the lived experience of this seismic period in contemporary Irish society.

While clearly not all aspects of the period could realistically be covered, the book does contain essential information about the central actors, events, themes, and economic trends, which are discussed in a readable and accessible manner. Each entry is linked to the overall Celtic Tiger phenomenon and its immediate aftermath.

The book also provides a comprehensive account of what happened in this period and will be a factual resource for anyone anxious to discover information on the areas most commonly connected to it. All entries are written by experts in the area. The contributors include broadcasters, economists, cultural theorists, sociologists, literary critics, journalists, politicians and writers, each of whom brings particular insights to some aspect of the Celtic Tiger.

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Ryan, Donal: The Spinning Heart (Eamon Maher)


Eamon Maher

Ryan, Donal: The Spinning Heart

The Tipperary author Donal Ryan (1976–) is undoubtedly best known for his debut novel, The Spinning Heart, winner of Book of the Year at the Irish Book Awards in 2012. This novel deals with how a rural community in Co. Tipperary is forced to come to terms with the fall-out from the collapse of the Celtic Tiger and the failure of the local developer, Pokey Burke, to pay his workers’ stamps, an omission that leaves them impoverished when the company goes bankrupt. His foreman, Bobby Mahon, reflects on how they could all have been naïve enough to believe that the self-serving Pokey, whose own father finds it hard to love him, was a ‘legitimate’ businessman. Then again, the construction game does not require too much intelligence, as Bobby reflects: ‘You don’t need brains to shovel shit and carry blocks and take orders from red-faced little men who’ll use you all day and laugh at you all night and never pay in your stamps’.

Ryan does an excellent job in capturing the misery of those who were front line casualties of the collapse. Mahon feels he has let many people down: his wife and family; those who worked under his supervision; the people who purchased houses at inflated prices and were forced to live in a ghost estate with few amenities and houses that were barely habitable. One of these, Réaltín, bought at the height...

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